Wednesday, April 29, 2015

From The Front Page of Debra's Life

" ...  whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."   ... Philippians 4:8


So yesterday while standing on the sunny side of the house at the water spigot waiting for my watering can to fill, the yellow of the house glowed near my face and the temperature was 52 perfect degrees and I remembered how, only weeks ago, this outdoor world was blue, frozen and waiting for days like this one.

For a second, I nearly fainted with the gratitude, the glee of Springtime and the goodness of God.


Naomi arrived home safely from NYC and I do thank you for your prayers. 

In this photo, below, from her time there? Oh my. I'd never seen her look so all-grown-up-like-a-lady.

               (Naomi is second on the right. Not sure why, but she reminds me a bit of Patricia Heaton in this photograph by Katrin Albert.)

Having a grown-up-lady for a daughter makes me feel downright decrepit.  :)


I've not yet met our new, young neighbors. Looks like they both have jobs with hours identical to Tom's, but soon I'll meet them and their .............. wait for it  .......... their dog.

Yes, they have a dog, one who did bark awhile as they moved in on Saturday. But Tom and I gave him (and them) a break since he/she was in a new, strange yard. 

I mean, hey, we're not one of those couples with no life, who wait with fingers poised over their phone to complain to authorities. At least not yet. heh.

Only once since Saturday have I heard anything and already I prefer New Dog over Evil Dog Cody. He's pretty, even--rather like a smallish, orange German Shepherd with no black markings.

Oh, and they have a cute white and black cat who peeks at me from the windows. Cats in windows = one of my favorite things on this planet.

So to sum it up: so far so good and I'm choosing to believe things will remain that way because, well, that's what I do.


Tom's mom is still on this side of Heaven, her body not yet ready to release her spirit, and we do thank you for prayers, especially for the family members attending to her now. As you know, the waiting at these times can exhaust mind and body.


And because our world becomes more tragic, divided and mean by the week, I'm considering rereading this series by Rosamond du Jardin outside in the sun. Oh, the calm, the memories they bring. The sanity they restore to me as this world-gone-wild spins 'round.

(To see oh-so-retro photos of Rosamond's books, go here.) 

As I often nag tell you, discover what keeps your head together and do it. Just do it (even if no one else does).


      “I suppose the best kind of spring morning is the best weather God has to offer.” 
― Dodie SmithI Capture the Castle


Free Kindle Books:

Land of Dust and Tears

Misadventures of a 1970's Childhood

Creating Homeschool Balance

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Just Can't Title This One

You know it's been a long winter when you stand at your window and suddenly gasp, "The crab apple tree has leaves!"


Today is Tom's birthday. We've celebrated here at home this weekend, for he often dines at restaurants on weekdays with co-workers, not to mention all his traveling, paper work and errands. So he appreciates sitting in his recliner each Saturday and Sunday.

Which, uh, I'm not sure is working out for me, I told him. Me, me, me. Yet since it's his birthday, I pushed that discussion back for another day. :)

We watched tv and ordered out for lunch and I puttered outside where, at Hobbit Cottage, it is the time of the transplanting of forget-me-nots. 

But here's the other thing: Tom's mom is very near getting what she's longed for for years--to enter Heaven. The doctors say it will be any hour or any day, so good-byes have been spoken and now everyone waits. Tom's mom has so often spoken of Heaven that, rather than be sad and pray that she remains here in bed, often in pain, we find ourselves pulling for her to get her heart's desire. She is 85 (86?) and oh so ready to enter the brightly lit gate of which she's already had a peek.

Here's a portion of Tom's tribute to his mom:

"My Mom, Esther Joy "Kitty," has lived a full, long, and rewarding life. Her childhood was a very hard life, yet she made the most of it, fighting and reaching, and grasping life by the neck. She had physical problems that took great courage and determination to overcome. I think that tenacity, and warrior spirit helped guide me in my own struggles.
That struggle for her is drawing to an end. Her mind has stayed as sharp as anyone I know, but the body is worn out. She is at heaven's door, asking to come in. She's been living in a nursing home for several years now. Her beloved "Daddy" passed away in the Fall of 2013, and she has missed him ever since. She would tell me - "I miss Daddy", and also "I'm tired, and just want to go home", as she would lay in that bed, day in and day out. She has congestive heart failure, and is breathing very shallowly now, preparing, I think, for passing through that eternal door. The doctors and nurses say it could be any time now."

May we all live ready to release this world for the incredible one ahead. May we not view Death as the end of the world, but rather, the beginning of the best world to come for those who know Jesus.


"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants."   ...  Psalm 116:15

 “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him."  ... 1 Corinthians 2:9


Here's a treat! My friend, Tracy, has published a Kindle book titled Inspiration for Homemakers, guaranteed to delight the most wonderfully old-fashioned-minded amongst us--and at only .99 cents! Tracy's book will inspire you to new great heights around your home and within your heart. 

You'll find it here.  Congrats, again, Tracy!


Free Kindle Books:

Running on Empty

The Rancher

Organize Your Home

Memory Improvement


What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly. ------Richard Bach

Friday, April 24, 2015

For Those Who Would Burn Down Farmville

It's been 5 years since I last posted this, but it still haunts me (in a good way) when friends play games at Facebook. (And it still surprises me the 'but my hobbies make sense' comments I received the first time around. Sigh.)


"Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment."   ... 1 Timothy 6:17


(You may have to mull this one over awhile.)

Some people at Facebook criticize their Farmville, Cafeville and survey-loving friends. You can even join "I Don't Care About your Farm, or Your Fish, or Your Park, or Your Mafia!!!" groups. When you sign-up, they appear on your friends' home pages and well, I'm sure some feelings have been hurt.

Myself? I don't generally do surveys or games at Facebook because I lack the desire. Yet I have Facebook friends who are into them, especially Farmville. Big time. You go to their wall and see little pictures of animals, candy or poker cards with hardly a photo of themselves or anyone else.

And that's the sort of thing which makes my other friends wild. You know, the way game photos can clutter up the home pages of non-gamers. Who cares that we can click "Hide" so we can make it all vanish? Many people just believe if they think games waste time, then no one should play games. Period.

And there is the problem. There is the rub.

I heard one woman say that anyone who likes any  tv reality show is being duped. Others quip that all cell phone users are rude and today's movies are all garbage.

But here is what Debra sayswe all need downtime, especially in Today's stressful world. And we all relax in different ways--my idea of fun is different (probably) than yours and what relaxes me might stress you out. 

And who am I--who is anyone--to say, "My way of relaxing is a wiser, better way than yours?"

Which of us was chosen by God to declare that reading, hiking and sewing are fine hobbies, but Farmville, reality shows and computer games are pathetic? Golf yes, but Facebook no way?

Does anyone else hear the pride in those statements?

Of course, any activity can be overdone. Anything in Life can become an obsession and whisk us away from our responsibilities. Yet even there-- it's not the hobby that's wrong, it's us. Our lack of self-control and not coming away when convicted.

De-stressing types of hobbies-- may ours allow us to relax and recharge. And may we extend grace to others whose hobbies are nothing like our own.


Free Kindle Books:

The Cat Manual

Trail of Thread

An Unexpected Family


"Love one another..."

Thursday, April 23, 2015

If You Don't Give Up--

"Behold, all things have become new..."   ... 2 Corinthians 5:17


See the cute hippo? He's one of the items Tom brought home from South Africa.

Also this elephant:

And my favorite gift this time? Giraffe bookends:

While working on my 'book,' I revisited those months in 2010 after Tom was laid-off and I marveled how, less than 3 years later, God gave him a whole new career, one so similar to what Tom had dreamed of for years.

It still amazes me that, after being laid-off for the first time in 32 years, Tom treated those 20 months like a long-awaited vacation (though he did seek jobs online). He chose trust rather than panic and he enjoyed those nearly two years of rest (well, the moving away from the farm wasn't too restful...).

People said, "Oh, it's so terrible when you're laid-off in your 50's!" Yet Tom didn't let those words seep inside him.

Then another job came along and when that power plant ceased running, immediately Tom's much dreamed-about career happened. 

Now he teaches S. Africans to run one of the largest coal fire power plants in the world. In fact, Tom's boss wants him to, here in the Buffalo office, teach co-workers how to teach(!) 

How remarkable to watch God turn a bad thing into something extremely good.

So today I would tell you--if something appears to have gone all wrong in your life--please don't panic or assume your best days have passed. Our God is much larger than that and He waits to respond to our faith.

He requires a quiet trust that believes all will be well--somehow, in Time--perhaps in a different form than we'd wished. And obedience which inches us into the right place at the right time--gratefully.


"As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result..."  ... Genesis 50:20

" And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."  ... Romans 8:28


Last night our new neighbors moved a few items into the house next-door. 

And so, a new Cody-free chapter begins.  :)


Yesterday I discovered lots of episodes online of Restaurant Impossible which I'd not yet seen. Hooray! I enjoy many shows in which wisdom and ingenuity are used to fix things.

Speaking of which, oh. my. goodness. After 3 long weeks, I can once again print coupons! Yesterday when I discovered my latest tinkering (and most likely, God's mercy) had repaired our printer, I woo hoo'd like crazy to Tom in the living room. 

Wow. Total glee on a snowy, north wind afternoon, one where I'd raked leaves and transplanted forget-me-nots that morning because I'm determined to play Springtime Games--anyway.


Free Kindle Books:

One Lane Bridge (this one sounds intriguing!)


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Cody is Gone

"You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands."  ... Isaiah 55:2


I read the first part of that most beautiful verse this morning and laughed.

Cody, the little barking dog next-door who waited, in silence, near our trash can so he could suddenly screech and make me jump--has moved away.

Now I can go outside in joy and be led forth in peace.  :)

Perhaps Paul and Robin moved away in the night. Or while I went  to the supermarket. I don't know. I've not seen them since last Thursday--I spied no moving van or pick-ups and a few items remain in their yard, yet nothing in their enclosed front porch that my squinting, nosey eyes can decipher. Perhaps they bought a furnished mobile home and sold their house as furnished. 

Yes, and probably I should take my advice and mind my own business. (Good grief, Debra. Let it go.)  heh.

Of course, I'm a bit sad that they didn't tell me good-bye. Kinda makes me feel even more forgettable than I've felt ever since high school. (Crowds aren't exactly begging to be my Facebook friend, but you get used to these things after 40 years.)

Oh well! To God, Tom, Naomi and some of you, I'm special and that is enough in this Life. 

I will miss having Paul and Robin as neighbors. Remember? They're the ones who spoke quietly together in their backyard for hours every fine weather week. And Paul so kindly weed-whacked our side of the fence, the same fence Robin and I so old-fashionedly spoke over.

But I must confess it's a joy to garden again in peace without Cody in his corner waiting to startle me out of my skin.

Sorry, Cody... but that barking at anything that moves was getting ridiculous.


Months ago I prayed Cody would stop barking and God answered that prayer His own way. Note to self:  Always give God room and time to move as He wishes.


A special thanks to those of you who told me you were praying for Naomi! She arrived in NYC fine yesterday and is having fun. Again, thanks, and if you'd like to keep her in mind this week, that would be wonderful.  :)


Free Kindle Books:

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Dream Come True Weekend

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever."   ...Psalm 136:1


Still, I'm reeling over the contemplative treasure, Gift Of An Ordinary Day. Many of you moms would appreciate this perfect 'beach book', one that will warm your eyes with tears because of the author's ability to perfectly describe the beauty and the difficulties of raising children.

When I wasn't editing my new blog or spending time with Tom, I sat outside in my wicker chair, reading, something I dream about on the iciest, greyest days of every January. The sun bouncing from our yellow wall was just enough to warm me.

Aren't you giddy that it's not November with a whole string a icy winter months ahead? I am. Spring became my favorite season years ago when I realized we have seven months of mostly-gorgeous weather to anticipate and splash around in. 

My excitement is palpable and perhaps others need promises of exotic vacations or loud, celebratory parties or lists of prayers which must be answered before they can be happy again. But not me. 

April and daily joys are promise enough.

I read here this weekend, but this photo is old and nothing yet looks nearly as green. But still, it felt glorious out there.

Today we're back to rain and wind, but that's ok. God gave us our perfect weekend and those who wisely lifted their faces to the sun with thankful hearts while they could, have memories to cheer them.


This morning Naomi will fly out of Nashville to New York City where she'll stay with friends, play drums in concerts and look up old friends for a week. 

Any prayers for her safety would be appreciated since NYC is not exactly her mother's idea of a great place.  :)



Free Kindle Books:


“I enjoy the spring more than the autumn now. One does, I think, as one gets older.” 
― Virginia WoolfJacob's Room

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Reader's Digest Condensed Version of My Blog :)

It's here!

My condensed version of As I See It Now, The First Seven Years, that is. Though thankfully, its title is better than that:

Lessons Learned in Old Houses

I'll continue to edit that thing probably till I die (and I've not made certain the few links work), but still, it's out there now for you to read, if you wish.  And feel free to send the link to anyone you think might enjoy a peek at my life at Autumn Cottage and The Apartment and our Healing Acres Farm.

And for those of you who've, over the years, asked that I write a book, Lessons Learned in Old Houses is especially for you. Thank-you, much, for your encouragement.

So rather than blather on here, I'll let you visit that new-ish land of houses and lessons learned. Let me know what you think, ok?



Free Kindle Books:

By Summer's End

A Life Restored


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Book Recommendation and Something to Consider

Wow. Need something life-changing to meditate upon? Try this:

My, my, my. Kinda says it all, right?

I've not been able to shake those words since yesterday. 


Drum roll.... 

My new 'book blog' will be available Friday! It even has an inspired title--another way of saying it must have been God's idea, certainly not mine. (You're gonna like that title.)

But oh dear-- all the looking back. I'm not a fan of that, for I'd rather gaze ahead. It's been rough, but you are worth it.  :)

And all that editing! Frankly I've been disgusted with myself that I was ever such a sloppy writer. (All those stupid ellipses! Eegads. I even knew they were wrong, but didn't know how to avoid them. They were like a disease.). But I'm determined not to let my feelings dictate what move I make next, but rather, God.

Anyway, even in the midst of my discouragement with myself, I've felt Grace all over this huge project. So it must be what God wants, otherwise, I'd have bailed out last week. 

So all is (mostly) well.


My copy of The Gift of An Ordinary Day arrived today and wow, the timing! Tom and I were having some financial complications (long story, but everything's ok--or will be. Can you believe we had our taxes done today? But that was the easy part.) 

I so needed a good book--and it appeared inside my mailbox on just the perfect day.

She speaks much of preparing for the empty nest (in case you are there) and I'm especially enjoying the parts after they move from their first house. Oh dear!   (Thanks, Pam, for recommending Katrina!)


Free Kindle Book:

Renegade Teacher

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

You Can Keep Your Vacation Hot Spot

"But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create..."   ... Isaiah 65:18


Oh, dream-come-true Sunday afternoon! That's when Spring officially arrived where I live and we all got outside and puttered and played.

In 62 sunny degrees, for the first time this year, I did my famous sit-down-gardening and cleared most of the sunny-side-of-the-house flower bed of leaves and twigs (I belong to the 'leave them over the winter to leach good nutrients into the soil' school), taking breaks by reading this delightful book for the first time:

... at my wicker chair which I moved from the shady front porch to the bright sidewalk so I could watch the daylilies, forget-me-nots and daisy stems grow. I'd peeled off one sweater top and the temperature felt perfect in my remaining one and I spent the afternoon out there, blissfully.

Springtime and all your promises! You're a most welcomed sight, especially this year and you've pushed away all my dreams of Hawaii and Myrtle Beach for you are more than enough. I'd just needed to remember and breathe and feel you.

                                   Just another beginning....


Two of my tiny rosebushes didn't survive our hairy, wild winter, but my 'wedding plant' did, in all its many pots:

I call it that because Naomi attended a wedding during one of her Hobbit Cottage visits and gave me this plant which she'd received. It spreads like wildfire and always makes me smile with the memory which is Naomi.

Some people believe wedding reception gifts to attendees should be banned and the money used more wisely, instead. 

Call me Extravagant Ellie, but I disagree. 

If a bride wishes to leave her guests with little mementos of her most special day, she should do so without guilt. Giving is a godly gesture! It need not be expensive either--those 'wedding plants'? Most likely they cost less than $50, for all they required was a couple bags of soil, little wedding Dixie cups and ribbon. The plants, (given their wildfire-spreading tendencies), were probably free from someones yard. I can just see women gathering together, enjoying creating these tiny pots.

Besides, weddings in Bible days? Oh my, talk about your lavish affairs--they lasted a week and no one talked about sending money someplace else, instead. Jesus, Himself, even provided more wine at one of them.

What I've seen? We who are in our 50's and older need to be oh so careful that we age sweetly, for the easy tendency is to become a critic (I've watched it happen). It's too simple to pooh-pooh others' new ideas just because they aren't our old ones and to so revere our opinions that they become equal to Gospel inside our brains.

In fact, if you ever become horrified because I've turned into a critical old lady, you have my permission to just. shoot. me.  

Or you can bookmark this post and then remind me of what I wrote here. That might be better. :)


Weddings are important because they celebrate life and possibility.

...   Anne Hathaway

“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” 
― Oscar Wilde

"Rejoice with those who rejoice..."   .... Romans 12:15


My new 'book blog' is nearly finished! Stay tuned--there's still so much editing to do because, especially when I began As I See It Now, I was like Chatty Cathy Gone Nuclear. Oh dear. I confess it's discouraged me a bit. Alas.


Free Kindle Books:

Worlds Apart

Lilies on Daybreak Pond